Today we focus on what you need to be aware of as an influencer and business leader so that you take control and ultimately drive your organisation to the next level, this might even mean having the vision and for sight of mastering the future trends in order to have a share of wallet.
Running your outfit will therefore require a focus on the present daily operations. In order to succeed you need to know what’s ahead to better plan and avert danger.
The future of Zimbabwe and the world at large also will be affected by what we commonly refer to as the 21st century which presents plenty of changes that continue to impact business small or large.
Ability to know and master global business trends in any decision or goal mapping is critical, hence forms the subject of our discussion today, The I am Factors.
The voice of the customer
Marketing has primarily been a one-way communication to the customer. The rise of the internet, social media with blogs, twitter, wikis, and community websites has created a powerful mechanism for customers to shout back.
I must say the time is limited for companies to hide behind poor service and imperfect products. Company and people searches on search engines such as Google will continue to be a means for buyers to discover the truth behind marketing copy. Consumer opinions good and bad will shape the success of business. As a savvy business owner, you need to monitor what is being said, use the feedback to improve and manage your business reputation. Listening to your customer is more than an overused term but part of the new reality of business.
My Grade 3 teacher used to say “Like a carton of milk, the usefulness of knowledge expires over time”. In any field, new discoveries overthrow concepts to create new ways of thinking. In the world of business, the assumptions and facts of today are tomorrow’s old way of thinking. As our world accelerates in knowledge creation, information will continue to change.
Agile small businesses have the opportunity to learn new ideas and immediately apply them to their companies. Successful companies will learn how to unlearn and constantly challenge procedures, skill sets, and ways of doing business at the same time re learn.
The small business revolution
The face of entrepreneurship is changing from the middle-aged tertiary educated to a new class consisting of mainly women, baby boomers, and the younger digital generations. These groups are better educated prepared for success than was the case 2 decades ago. It’s even being witnessed in the working class economy of Zimbabwe.
The young at heart (boomers) have a vast repertoire of skills and experiences while the youth possess a risk-taking attitude with very few financial commitments. According to a research by the Kauffman Foundation, globally in developed nations people aged 55 to 64 start a business at the highest rate of any age group — 28 percent higher than the adult average. A growing number of employees will value the path to entrepreneurship continuing the small business revolution. Look for greater political clout and financing for small business.
A domain of one-person
Forget the hiring headaches, managing problems, and added paperwork of running a business with employees. According to the Census Bureau, small business without payroll makes up more than 70 percent of Africa’s 27 plus million companies, with annual sales of 20 billion.
An empire of one can operate in a low-cost of location such as the home office and be more agile than larger companies. One-person businesses can take advantage of outsourcing many functions while focusing on core strengths. The one-person business model will be appealing to more and more corporate employees leaving behind big companies with limited pensions and job security. Small businesses built around the domain of one model will be able to weather the perfect talent storm on the horizon.
The perfect talent storm
A fast aging population, a rapid declining pool of younger workers combined with global competition creates the perfect storm for a serious labour shortage. Unlike past labour shortages, this is a global phenomenon impacting workers in many areas and businesses of all types. It will continue for much of the future regardless of economic cycles.
As any nation develops it needs to provide comfort to its population as this is a similar problem faced by other countries facing similar talent crunches. Key will be retaining citizens as a top priority. This storm means small businesses will have to compete aggressively for talent and learn how to fully engage the hearts and minds of employees who ordinarily had partnered with huge institutions.
The innovation age
The most important asset that will be fully realised in the future is the human creative tool in our heads, often referred to as the brain. Our true competitive advantage is our ability to create and execute new business ideas. Although we have mastered the fundamentals of business such as sales or marketing, we have yet to grasp the concept of innovation. Smarter companies will leap ahead with the understanding that innovation is a process dependent system as opposed to a flash of genius. Coping without understanding the impact to an economy of an innovation is very critical.
The current perceptions of innovation are it’s all about big ideas and primarily technological. Big ideas have a lower success rate than small innovations. Innovations can occur in all aspects of business from new customer service ideas to improvements in operations. An idea isn’t an innovation until it is applied and turning a profit. The future belongs to small businesses that can turn innovations into profits. The same can be said about the economic drive in our nation. Small Businesses have a huge part to play.
The planet and reality
The planting season seems to have shifted in Zimbabwe over the last few years. Without sugar coating, it’s what we all hear on media being spoken off as global warming. The crisis is creating havoc in all parts of the world; interrupting supply chains, closing operations, devastating lives and businesses. An insurance report by the global firm Swiss Re predicted that weather disasters will reach $150 billion per year in economic cost in a decade more than double of today’s costs.
Without the adequate support and resource allocation of large corporations and limited government aid, small business will be the most vulnerable to such climatic changes. As a business tool, Disaster planning will be a necessary component of business survival in the 21st century and for any economy geared on a consistent turn-around strategy.
These trends are already set in motion. Take the steps today to set your business goals and direction around foreseeable events emerging. As I pen off, always remember that the change we want starts with the actions we take today for a better tomorrow.
The views given herein are solely for information purposes; they are guidelines and suggestions and are not guaranteed to work in any particular way.